Blog: Vegetarian Food Festival
Localbozo is all about full disclosure with everything we present to our loyal readers. In keeping with that high level of transparency, this writer must inform you that he is a rabid carnivore. I love steaks, burgers, and bacon. My consumption of said meats exceeds all medical daily recommendations. But hey that’s me, man.
Unlike some other frenzied meat eaters I have a great respect for vegetables. These leafy green staples can bring forth some astounding flavors when they are prepared just right. That is why I was quite excited to attend the New York Vegetarian Food Festival, this past Sunday. Many of my close friends are vegetarians, and they have either cooked or brought me to some amazing restaurants where meat is not an option. They blew me away. This day long event would again demonstrate the flavor potential vegetables hold. First, it must be said that the event was wildly popular. The line stretched around at least two city blocks. But even with waits at upwards of two hours, everyone appeared to be in good spirits. It also helped that food shops at the event were going down the line to sell their veggie delights. One such vender was Park Slope’s own “‘V Spot.” For three dollars they had breakfast empanadas with bacon tempeh and a very nice cheese blend. This handheld treat made the time on the line fly by.
Soon we found ourselves inside the event venue. The hall was jam packed with vendors and the people who embody the vegetarian and vegan lifestyle. Even a meat eater like me felt at home. The first table we approached was BAO, which means, “precious treasure” but it is also an acronym for the name of the company, which is Bad Ass Organics. They are the makers of several fine raw and natural products. They specialize in the fermented and probiotic method, and this can be seen in their extremely tasty Raw Hot Sauce and their Raw Slaw. All of these items are living food, and there are billions of active probiotic cultures inside each jar. The slaw was outstanding. The flavors that came through reminded me of an authentic Asian style slaw.
BAO is also one of the biggest producers of fresh Kombucha juices in the New York area. Kombucha has gained immense popularity in our area. For those of you who don’t know, Kombucha is made from a combination of organic black and green tea, organic cane sugar, and the kombucha culture consisting of probiotic bacteria and yeast called a SCOBY (Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast). It is left to ferment in a warm environment for a period of time until almost all of the sugar has been converted to a slightly sparkling, refreshing drink, containing vitamins, enzymes, minerals and healthy organic acids. We tried the Original flavor, and I must say it is like nothing you have ever drank before. The tart flavor really gives you an energy jolt.
Chocolates and other sweets were everywhere, making this crowd extremely happy. Each of these sweet confection vendors, were proud to show off their products, and their socially responsible ingredients. The ladies who represented the company, “The Simply Bar” were very friendly as they informed us that their gluten free bars have only one hundred and sixty calories. This is lower then all of the mainstream health bars. They also have sixteen grams of healthy proteins to boot. We had two samples, a Cocoa and a Lemon bar. Both bars were loaded with bold, natural flavor.
Speaking of positive sweets, we caught up with Sarah over at Pacari. They are an Ecuadorian organic chocolate company and produce a chocolate product that is so pure, that I swear to you it is nothing like you have ever eaten. This is not your everyday supermarket candy. Pacari blends the chocolate with such inventive ingredients like lemongrass, while producing a cocoa content that reaches up to a hundred percent. Be prepared for the real deal.
Another highly notable mention are the Hard Rockers from the Brooklyn based Foodswings, a self labeled vegan fast food joint. They are working to create vegan food that is fun, with products like Kickin’ Veggie Sliders and a Soy Chili Dog. Don’t forget their amazing desserts- they have over fifteen Milk Shake flavors. And remember, its all one hundred percent vegan.
This event was packed to the gills with a cornucopia of vendors all striving to pass on the good word of a vegetarian and vegan lifestyle. Food demos and panel discussions were held, where patrons could interact with popular veg/vegan personalities and gain knowledge about new products that are compatible with their lifestyle. The NYC Vegetarian Food Festival was truly a fun and informative experience. The line may have been quite long outside but it was very worth it. Everyone we talked to was passionate about their products and that goes a long way. It might even help a meat eater like me to start living a healthier lifestyle and checking exactly what goes into the food products that I consume.
Stay tuned to LocalBozo for all upcoming food events. Free events like this are the perfect way to spend a weekend afternoon and we would love to see you out there. Do yourself a favor and the next time you’re at the store, read the label. It is your responsibility to see what goes into the food you eat.
- Alan Smithee